The Argentinean based in Madrid Roberto Villar Blanco with his work entitled ‘Variable humidity in Cabo de San Tadeo’ has been the winner of the XXXI Ciudad de Coria Tales Award, which is annually convened by the Cáceres Provincial Council.
The ruling was announced yesterday afternoon in the city of Cauria in an act that precedes the gala that will take place today in the capital of Cáceres and in which the rest of the winners will be revealed in the different categories of short novel, poetry, journalism and short stories.
The event, which was held in person again after being held online in the 2020 edition due to the pandemic, took place in the Coria City Hall, and was chaired by the president of the Cáceres Provincial Council, Carlos Carlos, accompanied by the deputy for Culture, Fernando Grande, the mayor of the town, José Manuel García Ballesteros and the president of the jury, Juan Ramón Santos, among others.
The president of the jury pointed out that the winning work is “a set of stories with a unity not only stylistic but also territorial, since they all take place in an imaginary geography, stories written from irony and with a certain skepticism, with characters and places with a point of decadence, where there is room for criticism and for the unusual, a book, therefore, – he concluded – magnificent”.
Roberto Villar Blanco, who has signed under the pseudonym Carmen de Praga, is of Argentine origin, but with more than 30 years living in Spain, in Madrid.
He also has a long creative experience, since he is a scriptwriter for television programs and series, he has published six novels and a book of short stories. In addition, as Juan Ramón Santos has highlighted, “it is closely linked to Extremadura because it has obtained prizes that are awarded in this land, such as the Carolina Coronado or the Encina de Plata de Novela Corta, among others”.
The winning work has been selected on this occasion from a total of 466 stories from very different parts of Spain and 24 countries such as Argentina, Chile, Canada, El Salvador, the United States, Ireland, Israel, Morocco or Mexico.
The winning work obtains a prize of 3,000 euros and its publication. The jury was made up of Juan Ramón Santos, as president, Pilar Galán Rodríguez, Pablo Durán Palop and María del Carmen Sánchez Gil and the event was enlivened by the duo formed by the soprano Carmen Solís, and the plucked string musician Jacinto Sánchez.
In his speech, the president of the Diputación, like the mayor of Coria, had a memory for the one who was president of the Diputación, until his death at the end of 2020, Charo Cordero.
“This is a somewhat special edition because we are finally being able to open the doors, and also because we miss a colleague who was in the last edition that we were able to celebrate, so I want a special memory for my friend and colleague who strongly promoted culture, a legacy that I will try to follow,” said Carlos Carlos.
“Under normal conditions,” he continued, “we would say that Coria already smells like bull, today we cannot say it, but it does smell of literature and it does smell of culture, because the Provincial Council is not just infrastructure, it is literature, it is sport, it is inclusion, it is equality, it is environment”.
The president alluded to the economic situation caused by the pandemic that “has made things more difficult” but “has also made us make a greater effort to maintain the rate of investment and thus we will continue to reach all corners of the province”, he pointed out, while recalling the words of Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, “who once again came forward saying that there is no need to be afraid: the world is strong and always returns to normal and that is how it is, we are going to achieve it.”
As usual, this event in Coria precedes the literary gala that will be held this Thursday in the auditorium of the San Francisco de Cáceres cultural complex, in which the winners of the other awards announced by the Provincial Council will be known: the XLVI Cáceres Award Short Novel Award, the XLI Dionisio Acedo Journalism Award, the XXIV Flor de Jara Poetry Award and the 17th El Brocense Short Story Award. It will be at a gala presented by the comedian Luis Piedrahita and enlivened by the music group Swing Ton Ni Song.